Kim Kleinstuber, a fourth-grade teacher at Frankford Elementary School, was recently picked as the school’s Teacher of the Year. In order to win the honor, a teacher must be nominated by a student, parent or fellow teacher. Through the nomination and observation, a committee picks the winner, who goes on to vie for the honor of district-wide teacher of the year, with the potential to become the state’s teacher of the year or even the nation’s.
“I’m tickled,” said Kleinstuber of winning the Frankford Elementary award. “It’s a real vote of confidence — to know that a committee picked you and you earned it — and if you are nominated by a parent, it’s a vote of confidence that they recognize what you are doing for their children.”
In fourth grade, the students learn math, reading writing, science and social studies. Fourth grade is a notable year because students are tested in all five of those subjects for the Delaware State Testing Program – something Kleinstuber’s students finished up just this past week.
Kleinstuber has been at the school for seven years. Before that, she taught grades 2-8 at the Outdoor Education Center at Ingram Pond near Millsboro. In college, she ended up with a double major of agriculture and education, and she went back to school for training in elementary education at Wilmington College when her own children were in school. She keeps her relationship with what is now Wilmington University, as she is an adjunct professor and teaches “Methods of Teaching Science.”
“I teach people who are going to go on and become teachers. I’m like their last stop before student teaching,” she explained.
Kleinstuber is also involved with the district’s New Teacher Mentoring Program, in which she helps new teachers, and holds certification for teaching gifted and talented students. She says that, because of Frankford’s very diverse student population, teachers try very hard to stay on top of their professional development via college classes and workshops so that all kinds of student needs can be addressed.
“We as a school are very conscientious, very determined to stay abreast of any new educational strategies that would enable any part of our population to be successful. Being such a diverse population, you have to be able to address everyone’s needs,” she said.
She speaks highly of the district and is quick to share her accolades with her colleagues.
“As a district, we really want to improve in everything we do. We have meetings and committees to improve the quality of education. We never settle. We are evolving all the time,” she said. “The district works very hard to keep high expectations for students. I feel like we have a lot of personnel that are just so focused and dedicated to the kids. It’s a good place to work and it’s rewarding. The focus is the kids.”
Kleinstuber and her class got even more good news this week. As part of Computers for Schools Program through the United States Senate, Frankford will receive five free computers.
The Computers for Schools Program is a national initiative that puts extra computers into classrooms across the country. Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) planned to view the donated computers and to read to Kleinstuber’s class on Tuesday, March 18.